NEW YORK – A terrorist attack targeting the Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York City’s main bus depot, left four people, including the would-be suicide bomber, wounded on Monday, officials said.
“This was an attempted terrorist attack,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals.”
Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old man who emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in 2011, set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body, officials said.
The suspect, whose wounds are not life threatening, is under arrest, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said.
Ullah detonated the “effectively low tech device” in a subway passageway just before 7:30 am, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference.
“This is New York, the reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom,” Cuomo said in a press conference.
Ullah was apparently inspired by the Islamic State (IS) terror group to carry out the attack, Cuomo said.
Investigators suspect that Ullah made the bomb with instructions obtained over the Internet, but the device malfunctioned, the governor said.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the suspect shouted slogans expressing his support for IS before the attack, but he did not provide details.
Initial reports said Ullah was the only person wounded in the explosion, but emergency services officials later revised the figure upward to four.
The blast occurred during the peak rush hour period as hundreds of thousands of commuters headed to work in Manhattan.
The NYPD cordoned off the busy bus terminal and ordered the public to avoid the area, which is near Times Square.
On Oct. 31, Sayfullo Saipov allegedly used a pick-up truck to run down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike trail in Lower Manhattan along the Hudson River, killing eight people and injuring at least 12 others.
Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, followed instructions provided over social media by the IS jihadist group, police said.
Saipov, who arrived in the US in March 2010, left handwritten notes in Arabic in the truck that said the “Islamic State would endure forever,” officials said.
The attack was the worst terrorist incident in New York since Sept. 11, 2001, when Al Qaeda suicide hijackers crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in Lower Manhattan, destroying the iconic buildings and killing about 3,000 people, the NYPD said.
Saipov yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) when he came out of the truck after running over his victims on the bike path next to Stuyvesant High School and then crashing the vehicle into a school bus, eyewitnesses said.
Saipov was shot and wounded by a police officer, and he was transported to a hospital.